Yesterday, Elizabeth Edwards announced that her breast cancer had spread to her bone. Further, she and her husband, John, announced that he would be continuing his pursuit of the Presidency.
I genuinely wish both the Edwards' well. It is not easy to have cancer, to have it spread to an incurable place, or to be the spouse who has to watch this happen. I'm glad that they're doing what they feel is best.
However, I have to wonder if their path is what is right for America.
Let's say that Edwards wins his nomination, and later wins the presidency. (A long shot, if you believe the current polling, but bear with me.)
This morning the Today show medical advisor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, said that a person in Edward's position had a 20-25% chance of surviving beyond 5 years. Five years is 60 months.
It is now March of 2007. Edwards wouldn't take office until January of 2009...22 months from now. Assuming that Elizabeth Edwards would be in the 75% side of the equation, and that Snyerman's numbers are correct, when her husband was inaugurated, she'd have no more than 38 months to live. This places her death in the third year of a hypothetical Edwards first term.
Is it right for America to elect a man who we have to believe will be undergoing a deep personal trauma in the middle of his Presidency? Could we expect him to fully act in our interests? How much slack could we or should we allow for him to tend to a sick wife, while the world (which will be in turmoil, I guarantee you) spins by us?
I appreciate that the Edwards both want to pursue this ambition of theirs, and even that this pursuit might somehow be theraputic for Elizabeth. However, I don't see that electing a man with a sick wife is the right thing to do.